A local non profit group called the Ballyshaners hosts the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Alexandria. For the last 20 years the parade has marched down King Street, with high school bands, fire trucks, police motorcycles, clowns, bagpipers, zem zems, and much more... basically your regular small-town parade next to the nation's capitol. The parade is held two weekends before St. Patrick's Day and the week before the Washington DC St. Patrick's Day Parade.
We planned to meet some friends at Chadwick's for brunch and didn't even know there was a parade getting ready to start. Then we had hundreds of families with strollers blocking all sidewalks in what looked like a political protest, but we managed to squeeze through until the double-wide twins strollers showed up on one side and the man with two kids on leashes on the other side blocked all of the sidewalk and nearly all of the street. We were stuck... we had to watch the parade.
OK, we escaped, but I have to ask, why would you bring a stroller into Old Town's narrow, crowded sidewalks?
Socializing is a popular way to relax, getting to know people, and to conduct business. Obviously Alexandria has historically been a magnet for this pass time and the custom has perservered through the centruies.
One of the most relaxing ways of socializing is to have a BBQ in the backyard and share a few bottles of wine or beer! If you don't have a friend living in Alexandria to visit it would be a good idea to stop at a Barbaque place on the way and stop in one of the waterfront parks for a picnic to get the feel of the earliest days of our history. This sharing of a meal, cooked and served outdoors, with family and neighbors, has been a common way of socializing back then and today it is still our way.
The City of Alexandria, Virginia celebrates its birthday every year the weekend after the Fourth of July. The event features food, music, and most important--fireworks!
In 2009 the festivities were held on 11 July from 4pm until 10pm at Oronoco Bay Park a half mile north of downtown. Unfortunately they charge admission, and they close the easiest access to Oronoco park from Old Town along Union Street, meaning people approaching the park from along the water had to walk an extra 10 minutes to the only entrance.
Luckily the fireworks were launched from a barge on the Potomac, so they were visible all along the Old Town waterfront, as well as the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and across the river at the military bases near Anacostia.
We stood near Chadwick's restaurant and had a great view of the fireworks.